Is clear-cutting U.S. forests good for wildlife?
Critics say the idea that forests should be logged to keep them young so wildlife can thrive is based on flawed science.
Coming upon a clear-cut in an old forest is a jolting experience. Trees large and small are collapsed one atop the other in tangled jackstraw piles, corpse-like amid ragged stumps, and the ground is rutted with the tracks of heavy machinery. Such was the scene on the August day last year when forest activist Zack Porter and I hiked a newly built logging road in the Pittenden Inventoried Roadless Area, part of Vermont’s 400,000-acre Green Mountain National Forest.
Porter is executive director of Standing Trees, a citizen’s group in Montpelier, Vermont, that lobbies for environmental protection of New England’s forests. The U.S. Forest Service established this 16,000-acre roadless area in 2006, Porter says, but in 2019 the agency reversed its own administrative